Well, things got a little more interesting today for basketball fans in this state, didn’t they? Let’s just think about this. Sunday morning, Louisville was sitting on top of the world as the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and only a date with a Michigan State team widely regarded to be overrated standing between them and the Final Four. Meanwhile, our heroes in blue were still smarting from a coaching change and the possibility of a mass exodus of recruits and current players and only a few rumors of a new coaching hire to hang our hopes on. But, less than 36 hours later, the basketball tides in the Commonwealth have changed the course a bit. The Filthy Cards are out of the tournament and facing a large departure of their own and the Cats are presented with the possibility of a new, proven coach that is the type of “home run” everyone has been demanding…..and maybe a couple of his recruits too. One stop over to the Courier-Journal sports page said it all. A few encouraging, positive stories about Calipari and UK at the top, T-Will crying at the bottom. You see folks, the world really does balance itself out. As of March 31, Big Brother is back on top in the Bluegrass. (Update: Since writing this, it appears Eric Crawford wrote something nearly identical)
Go knock on wood.
Ok, now that we’re done beating our chests a bit, let’s get to some news.
– First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way. As the day wound down and no announcement came either way, fans began to speculate that Calipari was reconsidering his move to Lexington and a few media outlets in Memphis reported so. But, Matt told me tonight that he talked to someone very familiar with the negotiations and he said that it’s not so much an indication that things are going wrong, but because UK is dead-set on not be making an announcement of any kind until Calipari has signed on the dotted line….for obvious reasons. This seems to reinforce the opinion of Rick Bozich and others that said that though things were moving quickly, the official announcement might not come for a few days.
– Also, that same person said that there is a “98% chance that Calipari will be in Lexington tomorrow”, although it will not be for a press conference or a pep rally, just some good old fashioned negotiating.
– On a slightly different note, Matt talked to another source who said that the reports of Calipari bringing in Memphis players are “wildly overblown”. Reports have been popping up online that Wesley Witherspoon and Robert Sallie, among others, would be transferring to UK if their coach came to Lexington. This person told Matt that there would be no players at all leaving the team and it was very unlikely that any player who had signed a LOI already would end up at UK. However, that does leave the possibility of DeMarcus Cousins (verballed, but no LOI) and he uncommitted and unsigned John Wall jumping on board.
– Another very interesting story came out today from Sports Illustrated, who reported that former UK big man Nazr Mohammed contacted Calipari about adding Scott Padgett as an assistant. If Calipari were to add Padgett, which is probably more likely than we would all think, it would be the first of many “un-Gillispie” like moves. One of the early criticisms of Gillispie was that he was not willing to embrace former UK players and, whether Padgett is added or not, it would be tough to see Calipari doing the same.
– Perhaps the greatest quote about today came from Calipari buddy and Mark Story article subject William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley. Wesley told Bozich that “What’s going to happen is going to be monumental for college basketball. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be great.” I’ll admit I have my reservations a bit about “Worldwide Wes”, but it’s probably more of a reflection of they system rather than the man. Still a great quote. If you’re asking yourself who “Worldwide Wes” is, check this out.
– On a housekeeping note, as you know, we had our fair share of server issues again on Monday. Heading into last week, our biggest day at the site was the day Patrick Patterson committed to UK. Friday, when Gillispie was dismissed, we had about 325,000 hits, which doubled that number. Today, we had issues almost the entire day and still got a little over 300,000 and when we called the host, they said we were getting between 11 and 12,000 connections a minute. So, what’s the moral of the story? We’re doing our best to keep up and we appreciate everyone’s patience. I know it’s frustrating sometimes. But, to make sure you still get everything, sign up for the Twitter feeds that Matt has been sending out. Regardless of what is happening on the site, you’ll get the info. It was a big day all around the Big Blue internet. Even John Clay’s blog crashed.
– Speaking of John Clay, I saw this on his Twitter account today and it amused me in a strange way. By the way, if you take away our Twitter account, Clay’s ranks #1 in terms of good updates and Bomani’s is a clear-cut #1 in terms of entertainment. Twitter is growing on me.
– Also, on an non-Calipari note, WLEX’s Alan Cutler issued an apology this evening for the way he chased Billy Gillispie Friday in the Craft Center. Cutler went on air and apologized to UK fans and acknowledged that he is attempting to reach Gillispie to apologize to him as well. Like my mom said, I’ll give you something to cry about it takes a big man to apologize. This Uk fan will accept it. Also, speaking of my mom, she is still continuing her claim (four months now) that Pitino is going to Arizona and her friend sold Joanne a condo.
That’s it for now (believe it or not). This was an unbelievably crazy day around here and hopefully we’ll start to get some clarity tomorrow. For now, it looks like the Calipari Era could be upon us in the near future (sorry to the guy who blames me for jinxing Donovan). See you this afternoon….it should be another fun day.